2014 WSOP Ante Only, Dealers Choice: Deciphering the New Poker Formats

decoding WSOPWhen the 2014 WSOP schedule was announced early this year, several new additions were there. Some names were new to everyone while some were making a comeback. While the Big for One Drop was making a comeback after an years hiatus, The Dealers Choice Event and the Monster Stack Event were introduced for the first time and the Ante Only Tourney was starting its 3rd outing. While Dealers Choice gives off a lot thanks to its apt name, not much can be understood by the Monster Stack and Ante Only Events. We decided to put on our geek thinking caps and decipher the codes of these interesting new poker tournament formats at the 2014 WSOP. Read on to understand what the poker jargon of these events implies and how are they structured

  • Ante Only Event: Event #47 of the 2014 WSOP is the $1,500 Ante Only No Limit Hold’em which was first conducted at the 2012 edition. While everyone knows what the second part(NLHE) of this events name means, not many might be familiar with the part that says ‘Ante Only’. Now this event actually plays at exactly like any other NLHE tourney does but for one big difference. Instead of Blinds posted , this structure asks for antes to be posted by ‘all’ players. Thus the name ‘ante only’ meaning that there are only antes posted and no blinds are posted. These antes keep going up exponentially as the tourney progresses.

Pros: History has proved that the Ante Only tourney has had many takers. With 714 entrants in the 2014 edition, one of the major pro of this event is that it is faster than your regular poker championship. The play had to be stopped at some levels in this 3 day event since the field was skittling down at a massive pace. Players also claim that this format made them see another facet of their poker game and increase their skill set.

Cons: While the fast paced momentum of this game is an advantage for some, the old school of poker feels that poker is game that has to be played at its own pace. This swift format, players claim takes the skill out of the game.   

  • Monster Stack Event: There has been debates on the starting stacks of WSOP Events since time immemorial. In the            earlier few editions of the WSOP, the starting stack was equal to the buy in of the event. This format was re-visited a couple of times and at the 2014 WSOP, Event #51 debuts with the $1,500 NLHE Monster Stack Event featuring a 15,000 chips starting stack for all players. While it is the same number of chips a player would get as he would for a $5,000 buy in event but the structure remains the same as in ordinary $1,500 NLHE events.

Pros: With the small buy-in, the event will attract a huge field. Being a 4-day event, it will also provide the pros options to figure out and re-think their strategy.

Cons: There will be too many fishes in this pond looking for that lucky Bracelet in Vegas. With the monster stack to play for in a small buy-in, there will be a huge playing field. This will work to the disadvantage for the first 2 days since there might be too many nonsensical raises/calls/allins from the fishes. But once the dust settles down this event should boil down to a good competition.

  • dealerschoiceDealers Choice Event: Event #41 is the $1,500 Dealers Choice Six Handed Event which is a first-time bracelet event allowing players to choose from one of 16 games, some of which are being dealt in a bracelet event for the first time ever in WSOP history. Apart from the regular poker variations seen at the WSOP some of the unknown formats can be seen here including  A-5 Triple Draw Lowball, Badacey, and Five Card Draw High. How this game will work out is that a seperate dealers choice button will be rotated around the table. After every round, this dealers choice button will move to the next player who gets his chance to choosing what game to be played. The player has an option to choose any game from the 16 game option.

Pros: The addition of the mix gamed format will mean that the skills of the players will be tested hugely. Thus any player who plays or wins this event will have to be a master of 16 poker game formats. This poker format will also mean that the argument of ‘poker as a game of skill’ gets a new weightage with luck taking a back seat.

Cons: The choice of the dealer on a table becomes an issue for this game. Only the best dealer will have to chosen to eliminate any errors within the table.